Dream Big 135 Special Edition (The Story Behind the Story)
When my daughter was only a few months old I had a mystical dream about a princess, her four older brothers, and how she became the one who was destined to save her kingdom. I couldn’t get the dream out of my head so I begin to write it down. It seemed that the more I wrote from memory of the dream, the more it became a story as it flowed from my mind. I found myself in the midst of everything from breast-feeding my daughter, to eating my meals with my notebook in tow. The more I wrote the more I was compelled to fill in the blank‘s from what remnants of my dream that was left.
After I had written it all down I read it aloud to my baby girl to help her to get to sleep, and also so I could hear the story out loud instead of just in my head. It had become a fantastical story something that may have been birth by the Grim Brothers that was retold by Disney, but my princess was unlike all the others because she was brave and figured things out on her own, and without a prince to save her. Although, her four older brothers who were princes, did have to come to her aid a time or two, but not until she already had things under control. My princess also in the end didn’t need to have a man at all to help her or come to rescue, she did it on her own. Would you believe that this original version of the book not only came from a dream I had, but it was also originally written with the full intentions of being strictly a children’s book. After allowing a few people to read it family, friends, and a few others whom I spoke to about it had told me that it needed more details, not only for the story, but for the main character. I immediately went back to the drawing board so to speak, and began to add some things that were more personal that I had experienced as a teen, but also as an adult. Although, several of the main characters were comprised from my various charming personalities, or different aspects of myself as most people have. I also brought elements of other stories to the collective, all the things that I’ve ever loved in other books that I read growing up, and as an adult. Why leave all the fun stuff you loved as a kid, or love now as an adult? I say let’s have all the mythical creatures, fairytales, and pair it with sex and violence. Why should anyone have to choose between one genre, or another? I decided to include a special nod to the “once upon a time” fairytale themes, and then added a nice healthy dose of adult themes to make it more interesting. I love to read stories with all of those elements, so why not write them as well I say. I am just a big kid, with a big adult responsibilities, and just like that my book went from being just for kids, to just for big kids. I literally wrote what I wanted to read; call me selfish, but I am willing to share. I hope others will enjoy what I have enjoyed all the years of the rewrites, edits, and re-reading it over and over, until I finally got what I wanted. I have never tired of reading my story, I have laughed, I have cried, each and every time that I have read it. I’m not sure that if it is normal, or how other writers feel after they read their own words. All I know is how my words make me feel and let me tell you, I feel pretty damn good about them. It is not because they are the best, or the worst, but because they are mine, and I am proud of that. I also believe the words came for reason, that the story was meant to be told for a reason, well beyond from what can easily be explained, or believed in. It has been nearly nine years since the dream I once had became the story I never thought would be published. There were so many rewrites, edits, many rewrites, and more edits that had been done, and I couldn’t possibly think I could do anymore. After each rejection letter I wanted to just give up on my dreams of writing, or of walking into a bookstore, and to see it on a bookshelf. I had stopped working on the book for what would be year off and on at a time. After each set of rejections, and after all the rewrites, and the edits that I had done, it seemed to have no sway over any literary agents. The writing communities would advice me to give up, and write something else, or go back and re-write after I ignored it for sometime. The agents would give constructive criticism that I put to work in my rewrites, and then followed my research on what I was doing wrong. More years would pass; I couldn’t get the stories out of my head, and my book babies began to multiply creating a series of novellas. I found out the hard way that novellas aren’t pushed too hard by agents, and many of them won’t represent them. The next big suggestion was to put all of the stories together into into a novel, and that’s what I did. After many rewrites, and edits to allow the entire combination of stories flow into one, and then more time passed with more rejections from agents, and even a few small presses, it was back to the drawing board again. The next phase of my book came with some luck, and from others who helped me mold it one last time. I had nothing left to rewrite, or edit that I was knowledgeable to do, and then it went back out submitting to the agents again. I received way more praise, and comments to earn advice on what to do, instead of just hard passes from the vast collection of agents that I had submitted to. I even had partial requests, and also a few full requests, but they still came back with an email that said “this still isn’t right for our list”. I wanted to cry, I wanted to give up, and I almost did. Another year would pass with my story still trapped in my MacBook. It was after that time that the fates stepped in, and the universe blessed me. That old saying that it’s all about who you know is true, because I met the messenger who put me in touch with answers that I needed. I didn’t think it would hurt to try to submit the manuscript again, after all; I had gotten used to rejection years ago, so one more was not going to hurt me. So I took that chance, that once-in-a-lifetime, fairytale ending chance, and this time it was to a very respectable publishing house where an agent wasn’t a necessity to have. This publishing house was my glass slipper, and were to be the perfect fit for my story. It has taken me months since I signed the book contract in March to put into words exactly how I feel. I have been walking around as if in a dream, and it has taken some time for the news to finally settle in, to feel real. I am still at a loss for words, all I have is great joy in my heart, and I know that I could just burst with it. I am overflowing with an abundance of gratitude for all the powers that be right now. I am also eternally grateful for the opportunity made by the universe, and by those who helped me to be in the right place at the right time with the right people. I want to personally thank Stephen, and Holly, at Seventh Star Press for believing in my words, and signing me; I couldn’t have found a better home for my princess. The wait has been well worth it, and I am so appreciative to everyone who believed in my story, who believe in me, and would never let me give up, because even I have to be reminded... to always dream big.